It’s time to bid farewell to an iconic tourist attraction.
As you might have heard, the oceanarium at Sentosa will be closing its doors permanently after June 26.
When it opened 25 years ago, the Underwater World was one of the biggest highlights of the island. And although its popularity has somewhat dwindled over the years, here’s why you should still visit it one last time.
1. It costs less than $10 to enter
It only costs $9 per adult and $5 per child (three to 12 years old) — a throwback to its 1991 ticket prices — for you to enjoy the attraction one last time.
2. Explore the ocean without getting wet
The Underwater Tunnel is definitely the highlight of the venue where you’ll get to experience sharks, stingrays and giant groupers swimming around you throughout the tunnel. Divided into the Reef Colony and Ocean Colony, the tunnel lets you observe the marine life of about 60 species of fish without going on a diving trip.
The 83 metre long tunnel is made up of a 60 mm thick acrylic that can withstand up to 20 times the water pressure in the aquarium. But it also distorts the actual size of the animals in there; they are actually 30% larger than what we see. Whoa!
3. Special appearances
Look out for daily appearances by the Underwater Santa and Underwater God of Fortune at the Underwater Tunnel during feeding time, and read more about what the aquatic creatures think of these costumed divers here!
4. Get hands-y
Ever wondered what a starfish feels like? Here’s your chance to touch them and other sea creatures. But please be gentle with them and don’t lift them out of the water.
5. Spot the crabs
These Decorative Crabs are no ordinary crabs. They camouflage by attaching things from their surroundings (algae, seaweed, sponges, shell, and even debris) to themselves. No wonder they are also known as the velcro crab! You might need to take a closer look to spot them.
6. Get up close with Nemo
The Clownfish Jamboree has a little dome for your little ones to enter and be surrounded with these small orange fish. There’s no need to find one, they’re all around!
7. Exotic seadragons
Looking and moving like drifting seaweed, these masters of disguise are not to be confused with a seahorse.
8. Multi-coloured jellyfish
We bet you would want to watch these colour-changing jellyfish for hours if you could. They can be a little tricky to capture on camera (especially if you’re trying to get a selfie with them in your favourite colour) but it’s fascinating just to watch them and anticipate the next colour they’re changing to.
9. Ancient reptiles
Don’t miss the gigantic sea turtles at the Turtle Pool (outside the main entrance) and some of them were actually rescued from illegal traders. The Underwater Viewing Chamber lets you see them swimming in the water and tells you about the seven living species of sea turtles.
Underwater World will be transferring its marine creatures to other venues after the closure and although it’s a little sad to see it go, we are sure the animals there will continue to inspire and educate the public at their new homes.
Do your part
Underwater World is also big on raising public awareness on environmental conservation issues (and so are we).
Here’s how you can play your part to protect the marine life in the ocean:
By Muneerah Bee, June 2016
Photos by Muneerah Bee